Keeping Your Crops Cool During High Summer Temps

Taking extra time to care for crops during the extreme highs of summer temps will keep your garden thriving into fall. The extra high temps of later summer months can wreak havoc on plants. but we’ve got a couple of tips to help you get your crops through the hot, hot months of summer. Trying just a couple of the tips will leave you with the sweet reward of an extra harvest come fall.

Soaker Hose (photo credit: http://www.vegetable-garden-basics.com)

Soaker Hose (photo credit: http://www.vegetable-garden-basics.com)

Additional watering may be needed. Make sure to water deeply so plants roots have plenty of water, this will keep plants from becoming stressed. Soaker hoses may also be helpful so you’re not out there for hours on end watering.

Using an organic mulch, such as compost, grass clippings or straw will help retain moisture. Furthermore, they will also help to add organic matter back into your soil as they begin to breakdown.

When temperatures reach above the nineties it’s not only hot for you, but also for your plants. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplant have trouble creating pollen when temps are that high. Even bean plants hold back when it gets to hot. Proving plants with a fence or shade covers to create late afternoon shade will help cool them off. Proving shade to your plants can help lower temps about 10 degrees.

Keeping weeds out of the garden will also help plants thrive in high temps. When veggies and fruits are ripening they require extra water, so keeping the weeds out of the garden reduces the competition for ground water.

11403121_10102502100163168_2683654218023455422_nMake sure to pick ripe or damaged fruits and veggies off plants when you see them. Ripening fruits and veggies require a lot of moisture, plants are better off the sooner you harvest the ripe ones.

Start a batch of fall crops indoors

Start a batch of fall crops indoors

Start a batch of fall crops indoors. With temperatures above 85 and 90 it’s nearly impossible for fall crops to germinate outdoors. Fall crops can deal with the cool nights that fall brings. So while your peppers or eggplants may have finished producing, crops such as, broccoli or cabbage will continue to bloom even when nights turn cool.

Most importantly take care of yourself when you’re out there. Be sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water! If you need a break, make sure to stop and take it. Remember, without you, there would be no garden to look after.

If you have questions, stop by Big Bloom Hydroponics. We’re located at 1864 Colvin Blvd in Tonawanda, just minutes from the thruway. We’re happy to help.

HAPPY GROWING!! 

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Growing Watermelon At Home

WatermelonsWatermelon is one of those classic summertime fruits that just about everyone loves. You can eat them sliced, diced, added to a salad and even grilled. The possibilities are endless.

If you live in a warm climate, seeds can be directly sowed into the soil, but around here in Buffalo, New York, you’re best to start your seeds indoors. When the danger of the last frost has passed, it is safe to transplant seedlings outside. Watermelons prefer a loamy soil with plenty of drainage and a pH around 6. Make sure to pick a spot in your garden with full sun. Placing seedlings in mounds or hills will help with drainage. If you are planting several watermelon plants make sure to space plants at least four to six feet apart.

An important fact to remember, is that watermelons take a lot of space, they tend to have long winding vines that will spread throughout your garden. Watermelons are also very heavy feeders so amending the soil with before planting is key. Using an amendment like compost, manure, castings and guano will keep melons happy. Since 95% of a watermelon is made up of water, get ready to water your plant lots. The most important time for watering plants is from transplant up to fruit set, this is when their extensive root system is forming. Watering after fruit set can be lessened, watering too much after fruit has set will leave you with a un-sweet, tasteless melon.

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Watermelons put on both male and female flowers. Plants generally put on more of either the male or female flowers first, but you’ll be able to tell the difference because the female flowers will appear to have a small fruit at the base of the flower. Generally the flowers will be pollinated by insects, but if all of the flowers keep shriveling up and falling off you may have to do the work of the insects. You can easily use a paint brush or q-tip and go from male flower to female flower in order to spread the pollen. Or you can pluck off the male flowers and rub their stamen against the stigmata of the female flower.

220px-cucumber_beetleMake sure to keep an eye out for cucumber beetles on plants. Plants can handle a couple, but to many munching on leaves and stems will kill your plant. We usually pluck them off and smush them. If whole vines suddenly look wilted you may have a squash borer living in the vine. Another thing to watch out for is powdery mildew. Powdery mildew thrives is humid and damp conditions. Always water at the base of plants early in the day, doing your best to avoid watering leaves.

Watermelon-gardenKnowing when to harvest your watermelon can be tricky. There are a couple a tips that I like to go by. First, when the curly tendril attached to the watermelon has fully dried out, it’s usually ready. Another trick is to knock on your watermelon, if it sounds hollow, it may also be ready for picking. Make sure your sure that the watermelon is ripe before you pick it. Watermelons do not continue to ripen or sweeten after they have been picked.

If you have any questions or need supplies to grow the best watermelons in town, stop by Big Bloom Hydroponics. We are located at 1864 Colvin Blvd, in Tonawanda, NY, just minutes from the thruway and border.

HAPPY GROWING!! 

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Customer Appreciation Day 2015

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It’s that time of year again where we want to thank all of you for supporting us through the years. We’ll have food, drinks, samples, and giveaways going on all day Sunday June 7th.  Besides all of the freebies, we’ll have tons of sales going  on throughout the store. Make sure you stop by between 11 and 4 on June 7th and score yourself some free knowledge, food and goodies.

HAPPY GROWING!!

 

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Top 10 Reasons To Grow Your Own Food

1014185_10101211107318178_1307659435_nWe get asked all the time by customers, “is it really worth it to grow your own food?” And the answer that always comes out of my mouth, is YES.

Here’s a small list of some of my top reasons on why everyone should grow their own food:

  1. The flavor of home-grown veggies and fruits is incomparable to what you would get from the grocery store. Most food that you purchase at the grocery store was picked even before it was fresh, but food picked from your garden is at the peak of freshness. Fresh is always tastier.
  2. purple bell peppers Growing your own food gives you the opportunity for variety. You can grow what ever kind of tomatoes, beans, and peppers (just to name a few) that you want. You don’t have all those options at the grocery store, you can only get what they have in stock. And chances are, they’re just going to be your typical bell peppers and green beans. Growing your own means you could try growing veggies such as, purple cauliflower, white cloud pepper or an alligator squash.
  3. Veggies grown at home and picked at peak ripeness have a higher nutritional value than food that was picked early and shipped to your local supermarket.
  4. You can breathe easy knowing that your food is chemical and pesticide free. You know what you put into your food and more importantly, what you didn’t put into your food.
  5. One of my top reasons for having my own veggie garden, it’s a great workout. I don’t need to head to the gym everyday when I’m out in the garden, raking, weeding, watering, or moving dirt. Furthermore, gardens are nice to look at, so you’re also helping to beautify your community.
  6. I’ve found that my homegrown food has a better shelf life than anything that I would purchase from the grocery store. That means less money and food waste.
  7. p1020014There is a great sense of pride that you get when you grow your own food. Starting from seed and nourishing plants until they’re ready to be picked is such a great accomplishment. Sharing my tomatoes with friends and family and hearing them say that this is the best tomato they have ever eaten is such an awesome feeling.
  8. You’re helping the environment and helping to promote biodiversity. Mono-cropping is a major concern, this is the practice of planting large plots of the same crop year after year. The lack of diversity among crops strips soil of minerals and nutrients. Large scale farms then use chemical fertilizers to replace these nutrients. Mono-crops are often more susceptible to pests, which leads to the increased use of pesticides.
  9. You’re helping to save energy. Modern, large-scale farms use far more petroleum than any other industry. Moreover, less pesticides cut down on water pollution, less fossil fuels are being used to deliver food, and you’re helping to fight soil erosion.
  10. You’re saving money, no one can argue with that.

If you have questions, are looking for supplies or need help starting your own garden, stop by Big Bloom Hydroponics. We’re located at 1864 Colvin Blvd, in Tonawanda, NY, just minutes from the thruway and border.

HAPPY GROWING!! 

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Growing Rosemary

rosemaryRosemary is a herb that has tons of uses and is so easy to grow in your home garden. Rosemary can be grown indoors or out, in contains or in the ground, and even hydroponically. Plants will tolerate partial shade, but will flourish in bright sun. Rosemary can be continually harvested. Harvested leaves can be used fresh. Leaves may also dried or frozen leaves for later use.

Rosemary contains lots of antioxidants, several are known to have  anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. Rosemary can also be made into an herbal oil that can be applied externally to help soothe pain.

Rosemary is a widely used culinary herb. It can be used to flavor meats, chicken, vegetables, and stews. You can also mix Rosemary with oil for drizzling or butter for spreading.

Drinking tea made with Rosemary leaves is said to help to fight illness.  Rosemary can also be used to stimulate the immune system and improve digestion.

RosemaryBesides being used as a culinary herb, Rosemary is also makes a great  air freshener and a nice addition to aromatherapy mixes.

Rosemary has been shown to enhance memory, concentration and mood.

Have questions about growing Rosemary, stop by Big Bloom Hydroponics, we’re happy to help. We’re located at 1864 Colvin Blvd, in Tonawanda, NY. We’re just minutes from the thruway and border.

HAPPY GROWING!!

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Grow Anywhere With Your Grow-Globe

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We recently came across this all-in-one miniature terrarium kits from Grow-Globe. They come with everything you need to grow your own, grass, shamrocks, flowers or cacti. They’re great for any age, kids and adults will love them. Plus, they come with a suction cup so you can stick your terrarium almost anywhere. How fun is that?! We decided to start a cactus Grow-Globe in the shop and we are loving it. The cactus sprouts are so cute. DSCN0425

Looking for something fun to grow, stop by Big Bloom Hydroponics, we’re located at 1864 Colvin Blvd, in Tonawanda.

HAPPY GROWING!!

Grow-Globe

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5 Reasons To Garden Indoors

GrowLabSeasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as the winter blues,  is real. Some of us experience a drastic change when winter rolls into town, we’re tired, moody, lazy. And with the long harsh winters we experience in Western New York it’s hard not to get into a funk. But have no fear, starting an indoor garden can help you cope with dreary winter months by bringing you some much-needed light. Seriously, working with your plants under grow lights can mimic a sunny day and make you happier and more awake.cherryToms

Having an indoor garden won’t just help to cure winter blues, there are even more benefits to growing all year.

  1. By having an indoor garden all year, you can be assured that you and your family are eating chemical and pesticide free food.
  2. bunnyAnother bonus, you don’t have to deal with those pesky squirrels and rabbits when your inside. That tomato that you’re waiting to perfectly ripen on the vine will be there in the morning for you pick off and eat, not for the squirrel to sample and toss to the side.
  3. Gardening is not only a fun hobby, but it’s also a healthy one! We tend to eat what we grow, you can’t grow a doughnut on a plant. Although, it might be worth a try.
  4. Bringing plants indoors helps to increase oxygen and remove toxins, meaning cleaner overall air that you’re breathing.
  5. Plants are nice to look at, bringing them indoors is just another form of decoration. Plus, it has been shown that productivity and attitude are much better when there are plants around.

BeefsteakIf you’re looking to start a new hobby, have questions or need supplies stop by Big Bloom Hydroponics. We’re located at 1864 Colvin Blvd in Tonawanda, NY, just minutes from the thruway and border.

HAPPY GROWING!! 

 

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